Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Austin EcoNews: Violet Crown Trail, Bees101, Arbor Day + Free Trees, Herbalismo! Week of native plants, food & reuse, Watershed changes: EcoNews

EcoCalendar Events

Monday 10/21/13
Special Called Joint Meeting of the Electric Utility Commission and the Resource Management Commission to discuss the Kema report (see right)

Tuesday 10/22/13
SFC Farmers' Market East
3:00pm - 7:00pm

11:00am - 1:00pm

1:00pm - 4:00pm

Wednesday 10/23/13
SFC Triangle Farmers' Market
3:00pm - 7:00pm
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Thursday 10/24/13

Saturday 10/26/13
Herbalismo! A Medicinal Plant Festival of the Deep South
8:30am - 5:30pm

9:00am - 1:00pm

Barton Creek Farmers Market
@ Barton Creek Mall
9:00am - 1:00pm

9:00am - 1:00pm
9:00am - 1:00pm

Sunday 10/27/13
UT Concho Community Garden Workday
8:30am - 11:00am

Barton Creek Farmer's Market @ Highland Mall
10:00am - 2:00pm

HOPE Farmers Market
11:00am - 3:00pm

*Green Corn Fall Festival at Boggy Creek Farm*
Noon - 3:00pm

12:00pm - 3:00pm

5:00pm - 8:45pm

Monday 10/28/13
Hope you enjoyed the weekend! There are still tons of great events coming up, grab your calendars!

*Calendar items* = expanded info in the right-hand column.

Organizations in Orange are Austin EcoNetwork Partners.

Submit your event for inclusion in the Austin EcoCalendar
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Add our events to your web calendar with our .ics file

Planning Ahead Mark Your Calendar:

Rainforest Partnership's 5th Annual Celebration Dinner: Birds of Paradise: From Austin to the Amazon
October 30th at Barr Mansion
6:30 to 9:30 PM

Two-week Immersion Permaculture Design Certificate
November 2nd - 15th

Texas Renewables Conference
Texas Renewables Conference in San Antonio
September 11-13

Defense Energy Summit
Correct DATES: November 11th - 13th
AT&T Conference Center
Please use our 10% off registration discount code: 13AEN10

Service-learning Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) course designed especially for folks who are investing talents in community projects. You get to substitute service hours for much of the tuition.
Saturday, November 23rd

CATEE 2013 Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency Conference
December 16-18
San Antonio, TX

Check out the 2013 EcoCalendar Preview for the year!

CLICK HERE to see FULL Austin EcoCalendar

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View back issues of the EcoNewsletter

Jobs & Internships

Job: Sales tangotabExecutive
Full description.

RFP: KAB in hiring an event videographerKeep Austin Beautiful has an RFP for a Videographer/Video Post-Production.

Circular EnergyJob: Solar PV Field Tech
Full description.

TX Aquaponic and Transfarming GroupInternship: Clean Food Solutions Intern
Full description.

Austin B-CycleJob: Operations Director
Full description.

AUstin B-CycleJob: Finance Director
Full description.

B-CycleJob: Marketing Director
Full description.

Texas Disposal SystemsJob: Advertising Specialist
Full description.

imagine solarJob: Website Editor/Designer
Full description

Compost PedallersJob: Part Time Compost Pedaller
Full description

Job: Afterschool Intern at Growin' Together
Full description

Clean Air Lawn CareJob: Grassmaster in Training
Full description.

New Blog

Austin Researchers Study Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Household
Austin Researchers Study Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Households
by Paul Batistell
For most people, energy bills are an inconvenient yet essential expense. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American household spends more than $1,900 annually on heating, cooling, appliances, lighting and electronics. But for some low-income families, paying for these commodities is nearly impossible. Compared to middle or upper-class homes, low-income households spend about double the percentage of their income on energy.  Now, Austin, Texas-based Pecan Street Inc. has taken initiative to empower low-income households to save money and better understand their energy consumption.
Research with an immediate impact

With the support of the Verizon Foundation, Pecan Street Inc. has begun a two-year study focused on better understanding how low-income multi-family households consume energy, and how to help these families save energy and money. The study will give 140 low-income households in Austin an energy monitoring system, including a Nest thermostat and eGauge power circuit monitors, both of which can compile data and provide valuable energy and cost-saving feedback to the residents.
Read the full blog

America’s Low Carbon Energy Revolution - Texas Renewables 2013, A National Stage in San Antonio!
TREIA is producing Texas Renewables 2013
by Debra Dubay

America is in the midst of a low carbon energy revolution. New energy technology has delivered much needed energy independence to the U.S. In San Antonio, nationally recognized speakers showcase the “All-of-the-Above” energy world and impacts of drastically reduced carbon emissions at Texas Renewables 2013, a Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) conference, runs Monday, November 11th to Wednesday, the 13th in San Antonio, TX. The conference and exhibit is organized to provide a solid understanding of forces at play, of economic and environmental benefits, and strategies on continued growth for all Texas energy providers. This exciting new conference experience includes TED style talks, video transitions, industry CEO panels and an exceptional lineup of speakers.  Leading keynotes and speakers include:
Big picture topics include:
  • Renewable Energy Opportunities Related to Fossil Fuels
  • Market Opportunities and Economic Development in Rural Texas
  • Renewable Energy Opportunities with the Defense Community
  • Innovative Renewable Energy Policies and Projects Across the State
Register and learn more.

"Curiosity is a Gift from the Creator"
by Chris Searles

- A Baptist preacher speaks on science and climate change
Reverend Don Searles caught my attention: “Did you hear Roger’s statement on climate change?”
Reverend Searles had my attention not just because he’s my dad (or because he’d just caught me running late) but because I’d never heard Dr. Roger Paynter – the senior pastor at First Baptist, Church Austin, speak about global warming before. Ever.
Seriously, who does that during a sermon? What’d he say? I asked. Dad heard: “Climate change is real and it’s being caused by us. It’s our responsibility to respond to it, and even if we’re not causing it – it’s our responsibility.”
The funny thing about growing up in First Baptist Church, Austin, is ...
Read Chris' full blog
Monday, October 21st, 2013

EcoBits by EcoBrandi

This is the week of weeks, so to speak. It is simultaneously Reuse Week, Food Day/Week, and Native Plants week (see below for more on all three).

In addition to an abundant fall harvest of amazing green activities (including the 2-year anniversary of our partner Treehouse!) we have some... drama and suspense in the green world this week. We've got the scoop on a law suit, a possible merger and a 1:00pm Thursday radio show about the "West Austin Battle Over Mega Sports Complex and Light Pollution."

We also have three blogs today about Texas Renewables, Research on low-income residents and energy efficiency, and one from Chris Searles the outreach chair for Interfaith Environmental Network.

Thanks to everyone who came to our conversation on Friday. We shared highlights of events and tried to draw some thematic connections.
  • Strategically managing the material inputs and outputs of our City and related economic development opportunities.
  • Influencing people at critical points of decision - setting up a business, entering office, new position at a job, having a kid, leaving college, diagnosed with an illness, getting fired, new to town.
  • Our need for inspiring leadership as well grassroots mobilization
  • Ways to impact the future of environmentalism in Austin's new 10-1 structure, including getting good people to run all over town and educating candidates.
  • Austin as a real leader and lever for world change
  • Bringing the passion and message of Rev Yearwood and the Hip Hop Caucus to our movement in Austin.

Herbalismo:  Amedicinal Plant Festival of the Deep South
Appropriate for Native Plant week Central Texas is host to a medicinal plant festival/conference this week called Herbalismo. It starts on Thursday with morning pre-conference workshops and the full conference with nightly entertainment starts midday Thursday through Sunday. (Note: the event can be attended with day passes on Thu, Fri, Sat)
It takes place at the lovely Flat Creek Crossing Ranch where you can learn from well-known practitioners like Rosemary Herbaismo: A Medicinal Plant Festival of the Deep SouthGladstar, Matthew Wood and Paul Bergner as well as connect with herbalists, and naturopaths and enjoy live music and participate in an authentic Dia de los Muertos procession.
They have a full schedule of sessions & workshops in the following areas: Materia medica, Preparations, Ceremony/Folk Traditions, Bioregionalism/Nature, Clinical Wisdom and Experience, and
Herbalism for Social Change.
Conference schedule is here.
The event is co-produced by former Austin EcoNetwork staff Nita Durant and with the assistance of AEN Partner Green Fern Events the entire conference will be a zero waste event!

Big news in the local cyclingBIke Austin Annual Membership Meeting universe... there are discussions underway to explore a potential merger between AEN partner Bike Austin and Austin Cycling Association, which both share the goal of getting more people on bikes in Austin. They have slightly different other priorities but are aligned enough that they will be voting on a declaration of intent to pursue a professionally facilitated merger exploration process at the October 27 Bike Austin Annual Membership Meeting.

Also, bike related... LearnCycling Tracks about the “Your Path to Austin” plan – a citywide network of connected trails and on-street bikeways protected from cars - and get involved:
Tuesday, November 12th - Cities for Cycling Road Show + Bike & Urban Trails Plan | Central Open House
5:30pm - 8:30pm at St. David's Episcopal Church
Wednesday, November 13th - Bike & Urban Trails Plan | North Open House
5:30pm - 8:30pm at Lanier High School Cafeteria
Thursday, November 14th - Bike & Urban Trails Plan | South Open House 5:30pm - 8:30pm at First Evangelical Church of Austin Community Hall
More info.

If you missed the Barton Springs Barton Springs UniversityUniversity sessions at  Barton Springs Fest in August, now you can see them onlineCheck out the videos of experts on the biology, hydro-geology, conservation, history, culture, and Native American religious significance of Barton Springs.  The SOS Alliance expects these to be the first in a series of teaching sessions on all things Edwards Aquifer. Stay tuned.

Reuse Week - a full week toAustin Resource Recovery celebrate the many ways that groups are helping further the environmental, social and economical benefits of reuse - began yesterday, with Reuse Day.
Share tips for Reuse on Austin Recycles' facebook page.

Watershed ProtectionThe new Watershed Protection Ordinance was passed by council last Thursday! Among other change highlights are new headwaters protections for 363 miles of eastern watersheds creeks, floodplain protections that will help restore our forested riparian zones, simplified buffer rules and gross site area, and no boundary street deduction.

Then council made a few amendments:     
  • Change the threshold for water quality controls to 8,000 square feet of impervious cover (had been proposed originally at 5,000sq.ft.)
  • Remove the Barton Springs Zone Redevelopment Exception additions (to be considered in the future)
  • Add several references to ensure folks know to consult the Environmental Criteria Manual for guidance.
The ordinance becomes effective in about a week. Phase two efforts (hydrology) begin in January. If you want to get involved, you can contact Matt Hollon, City Watershed Department, at 512.974.2212.

City of Austin SealTonight, Monday, October 21st at the special called joint meeting of the Energy Utility Commission and the Resource Management Commission, Austin Energy and Kema -- a consulting group - will be presenting their report on:

1. The analysis of the LSAC' s local solar plan to get to 400 MWs of solar by 2020, including 200 MW of local solar. Read report. Kema found that the LSAC goals are technically feasible, but they were overly optimistic on costs and savings. Basically Kema came out more conservative (anti-solar) than LSAC, but less so than Austin Energy. There may be space for upping the goals at Austin Energy.

2. An analysis of the Value of Solar rate paid currently by Austin, and a planned adjustment of the rate.

There is the opportunity for public comment and questions during the meeting. Read agenda.

You have until this Friday, October 25th KAB - Good Sports Always Recycle - apply until Oct 25thto apply to Keep Austin Beautiful on behalf of your elementary, middle and high school to be recognized in the Good Sports Always Recycle Program. If your K-12 school has outstanding recycling and environmental efforts then your students could be recognized during halftime of  UT football game. All schools in the Austin area are invited to applyMore details.

Sustainable Sites Certified Last Monday, "the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) filed a legal challenge to a claim of sole ownership of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) trademarks by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (WC) at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The
UT claims they are only pursuing SITES’ trademarks to protect the IP and intend to give full unrestricted rights  to their partners—ASLA, and the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG). We will keep you posted.

Earthbag houseRecently Thea Bryant announced they are having a donation only tour of the Earthbag house this Sunday, October 27th from 1:00pm - 3:00pm, due to the response she has gotten from the write up in Tribeza magazine. Plan to stay awhile as the group goes through a detailed discussion about the story, process, the why and what the future holds in store for Natural building for us in Central Texas and for our planet.

Along with the tour, she is launching the Natural Neighborhood Development Coalition. Go on the tour to find out more (and stay tuned here). More tour info.

EcoCalendar Highlights

Native Plant Week Oct. 20-26Native Plant Week is from Sunday, October 20th to Saturday, October 26th, with events happening all over town.
Native plants are acclimated to local climate conditions and soils, provide habitat for wildlife, typically require less water and maintenance once established, and do not rely on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to thrive. They also give us a sense of place and help maintain the region's wide variety of flora and fauna. Not only do they provide all of these wonderful benefits, but they are beautiful, too! More info and FAQ
Tuesday, October 22nd - FREE Grow Green Homeowner Training (*SPOTS STILL OPEN!*) 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Wednesday, October 23rd - Native Plants for Pollinators 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Wednesday, October 23rdEliza Spring Daylighting Project Stakeholder Meeting 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Wednesday, October 23rd - Native Plants of Central Texas Walk & Talk 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Thursday, October 24th - Native Tree Walk 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Friday, October 25thHabitat Conservation Plan Renewal Event 10:00am

Saturday, October 26thViews of Austin and Native Plants 8:00am - 11:00am

Saturday, October 26th - Wildflower Walkabout 9:00am - 10:30am

Saturday, October 26th - Arbor Day Celebration 9:00am - 1:30pm

SFC's new buildingThe Sustainable Food Policy Board is hosting a Community Discussion on Tuesday, October 22nd from 6:00pm - 8:00pm at the fabulous new Sustainable Food Center's new building at 2921 E 17th St., Building C. "Hear about local food policy successes and challenges, and share your ideas for affordable, healthy, sustainable food in a forum that motivates and educates through the inclusion of all voices." More info.

Eat Real
Food Day at UT Austin will be celebrated on next Wednesday, October 23rd from 12:00pm - 3:00pm at the Student Activity Center (SAC) Lawn, activities provided by different companies and student organizations. More info.

We are perhaps most excited Food Day Potluck hosted at Green Gate Farms on Oct 24thabout the Local Food Day Potluck our partner Greenling has put together at Green Gate Farms from at 6:00pm - 9:00pm.  Bring the whole family and a dish to share with your fellow sustainable-minded foodies. Local and organic ingredients encouraged! Some food and beer will be provided. More details here.

Food Day October 24thCelebrate day of, on Thursday, October 24th, by helping sort food at the Capitol Area Food Bank! Shifts are available from 9:00am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:00pm and 6:00pm-8:30pm.  Individuals as young as 8 years old are permitted to volunteer.

Violet Crown TrailAt 5:30pm on Wednesday, October 23rd the Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) is hosting a Happy Hour at the Rattle Inn introducing the Violet Crown Trail, with 10% of sales during the event going to HCC. Complementary appetizers, cash bar, and door prizes. Read more.

Tree House 2 YearTreeHouse is celebrating 2 years on Saturday, October 26th! Come join the fun.

catering from Chil'antro - Inventor of the Kimchi fries,
live screen printing by Ramona Press,
fun for the kids with the Austin Eco School,
exciting giveaways,
big money saving promotions from Dunn Edwards Paint ,
a visit from the makers of SWITCH LED (who has a big surprise)
and much more! 
A percentage of the sales from the weekend will go to support The Nature Conservancy.
More info.

Tree Heart - Arbor DayFor Arbor Day on Saturday, October 26th, join Austin Urban Forestry and TreeFolks at the Ruiz Library to celebrate Austin's trees! Volunteers will kickoff the day at 9:00am by planting and mulching 50 trees at the library, followed by an Arbor Day ceremony at 11:00am with a proclamation from Mayor Leffingwell and speakers from TreeFolks, Urban Forestry, and American Forests. The celebration will include family-friendly activities, live music from The Lost Pines, guided tree ID tours, and lunch generously provided by ThunderCloud Subs!

Great Outdoors 10% to TreeFolksAnother great way to celebrate is to plant a tree at your home! Buy a tree at The Great Outdoors on Saturday, October 26th and they'll donate 10% of your tree purchase to TreeFolks! Fall is the perfect time to plant trees in Central Texas, and with all the rain we have been getting, we need more trees in the ground to hold the soil in place and keep the water tables healthy.

Free Trees! TreeFolks hosts sapling days and give away thousands of free saplings through December. The next sapling day will be at Whole Earth Provisions on Saturday, November 9th.
Also, when you sign up as a member of the Arbor Day Foundation, you get 10 free trees! Sign up today.

Co-op Month PostersIn honor of Co-op Month, Cooperation Texas is hosting a Cooperative Fair on Saturday, October 26th! From noon to 5:00pm meet members from local cooperatives, become a member of a local cooperative, and enjoy some food, music, & beer from local co-ops, and a silent auction filled with cooperatively- made goodies from around the US. Admission is free and kids are welcome.  More info.

Bee Harvesting Bee Keeping 101 and the Art of Honey Spinning is a free class and live demo from Central Texas Bee Rescue at their apiary at It's About Thyme Garden Center, 11726 Manchaca Road. The class will take place twice this Saturday, October 26th, once at 11:30am and again at 1:30pm. More info.

Green Corn Fall Fest at Boggy Creek FarmOn Sunday, October 27th, is the 15th Annual Fall Festival with the Green Corn Project at Boggy Creek Farm. "Cook Globally, Grow Locally" Chef Demonstrations, local bands, and silent auction. There are volunteer opportunities. Tickets are $35 in advance and $50 at the door. More info.

Bike AustinThe Bike Austin Annual Membership Meeting will be this Sunday, October 27th at 5:00pm - 8:45pm. Not just the culmination of the Annual Board elections, but also, the first Annual Bike Austin Awards and featuring three distinguished speakers on "Accessibility for All Ages and Abilities: Opportunities for Austin".  They will be serving dinner, beer, and wine in appreciation of our membership. General admission for non-members $20. Free for members. Read more.
RSVP required.

Next Wednesday, October 30thBirds of Paradise is Rainforest Partnership's 5th Annual Celebration "Birds of Paradise", an evening of South American inspired food, music, and drinks at the beautiful Barr Mansion.
$100 for individual tickets, or inquire about sponsorship opportunities. More info

Mark your calendars for November!

In.gredients Fall FestivalOn Saturday, November 2nd celebrate the return of cooler weather and all things Fall with in.gredients' Fall Harvest Festival. Tiny Tails to You, Austin's Traveling Petting Zoo will be here from 3:00pm - 4:00pm with a plethora of baby animals. And there will be a pumpkin painting competition, dog costume contest, burlap sack races, face painting, food & drink specials & live music! 2:00pm - 6:00pm. More info.

Installing Solar PanelsSolar First Saturday is happening once more at ImagineSolar Training Center at 4000 Caven Road. Explore advocacy, policy, and opportunity in the solar industry. This discussion will provide actionable insights that participants can use to make a difference.

On Saturday, November 2nd, there will be an update on Austin City Council’s adoption of the LSAC recommendations for local solar goals. The discussion begins at 4:00pm. Participants are invited to arrive early (3:00pm) to observe the hands-on PV System Design & Installation Lab workshop already in progress. More info.

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